for an urban city with a land area of 291.2 square kilometers, it’s confounding how a city as small as cebu can accommodate 2 million++ people in just one weekend alone. most of them cramped within the major city areas like the downtown and uptown areas.
and by “them,” i’m talking about the crowd squeezing and fighting their way through an endless wave of crowds right now. while i’m here at home peacefully sipping my green tea.
you’re probably wondering why i’m here and not there where all the action is but see, i’m getting old (much as i hate to admit) but that’s half the truth. the other half i attribute to the fact that i’ve been there and had probably done pretty much what people do during sinulog for like, years. there was never a year that i missed it during my adult life.
for a change, i have decided to just chill at home and leave all the partying to the kids. and like all old folks, allow me to reminisce and share with you the good ‘ol times. rest assured i’m NOT typing this while sitting in a rocker chair.
every cebuano can attest to this: the best part of the 9-day novena mass in honor of sto. niño is when everyone collectively raises their hand and waves it in harmony to the chorus of the song batobalani sa gugma. goosebumps galore! it’s quite an experience for you and your little lost soul. if your heart and mind are really into the moment, it could move you to tears. i kid you not.
and then there’s the procession of the image of the sto. niño attended by millions of devotees from all over cebu and the philippines and beyond. rain or shine, they walk along the streets with a route stretching about 6 kilometers long. rolling the rosary beads with their fingers while praying the five joyful mysteries, as the procession always falls on the third saturday of the first month of the new year. singing the batobalani sa gugma song. showered by a combination of light drizzle and a little bit of sunlight brought about by sto. niño’s love and blessings for cebu through the northeastern monsoon. smiling as a confetti of shredded papers fall down from the buildings above. grateful to be a part of it all.
indeed, cebuanos’ devotion to the child jesus runs deep. the sinulog celebration is the 447th this year.
however, it’s not all serious stuff though. because come sunday, the fun begins! there’s a street parade featuring contingents from different provinces of cebu (some coming from other provinces of the philippines) with their unique costumes and equally unique props. moving to the beat of drums and trumpets — their feet and arms stepping and swaying following the rapid movement of water which is basically what the term “sulog” taken from the word sinulog denotes.
giants and floats also take part in the parade. not to mention the adorable kid dancers (kids!) who gamely pose for photos no matter how tired they are. of course, the older kids (ehem!) grab every chance to have their photos taken with the young ones too.
giants, henna, face painting, floats, fireworks, props, costumes, street dancing — what more could you ask for? no wonder cebuanos living far away from home experience a terrible homesickness at this time of year.
who knows, someday, i’m going to miss all these too…
to all the cebuanos out there, viva pit senyor!!! =)